Maine taps feds, private sector for IT strategy ideas

While state IT avoids bleeding edge tech, leaders in private industry and D.C. supply public-sector executives with policy fodder.

As Jim Smith shapes technology strategy for Maine’s Office of Information Technology, a few external sources give him ideas for serious consideration.

I think that innovation for a state organization, people often say you dont want to be on the bleeding edge, you want to be on the cutting edge, Smith told StateScoop in a video interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference.

Smith said he and the states IT shop frequently look to private industry leaders and the federal government for examples of how best to implement strategy, whether around cloud-first policy or a focus on agile development.

I think we look at a lot to private industry and say, Wheres the movement going on that? Smith said. We look to the federal government the federal government has created a cloud-first policy, but what does that mean to us? Should we have the same type of policy?

Maine embraces these questions and sources of advice as it confronts challenges of workforce, procurement and cybersecurity.

Our top priorities are probably similar to a lot of states, Smith said. We have a retiring workforce that takes up a lot of our emphasis and focus. We have about 24 percent of our workforce is going to retire in the next two or three years and its a challenge, obviously.

Joshua Karstens, the director of Maine OITs Project Management Office, said the state is also looking at lean and agile methodologies to drive cost savings and operational optimization.

Reducing costs is one of the big things were trying to do in state government, Karstens said. I believe we can do that through optimizing our processes through business process management.

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